2 Is resilience in our DNA?
In Week 1 of the course you learned that everyone has the capacity for resilience. Looking at the specific characteristics that enable some people to be more resilient than others helps us to start to think about why some people show greater degrees of resilience than others when faced with a similar situation.
But why do individuals develop these characteristics differently? Advances in genetic research over the last ten years have linked various genes to a range of social behaviours. Are genes also linked to our ability to cope with life’s challenges?
Activity 2 In the blood?
Watch the videowith Simon Weston. (You might find it useful to open the link in a new tab or window.)
Weston is a veteran of the British Army who has become well known throughout the UK for his charity work after he suffered severe burn injuries during the Falklands War. In the video he visits the Genome Centre in London to meet psychologists Dr Michael Pluess and Dr Aneta Tunariu and to see if he has the resilience gene.
You can view the transcript for the video at Week 2: ‘In the blood’ transcript.
Note down how Weston explains his ability to be resilient.
Did the video have any broader messages for you?
Weston expected that he would have one of the genes associated with resilience and was surprised that he did not. He reflects that he is pleased with this and identifies family, friends and strong networks as essential to his ability to become resilient.
While the scientific community is still divided on the genetic component of mental resilience, psychologists have highlighted the importance of training ourselves to be more resilient.